Artists such as Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Duffy, and Adele have proven that even among audiences on the younger slope of the Millennial bell curve, there's a clear penchant for "retro" styles of arranging, orchestration, songwriting, and recording. At their best, however, they're doing a lot more than romanticizing a bygone era as much of recent pop culture has done regarding automobiles, clothing fashion, and craft cocktails. These artists and the producers and engineers with whom they work are being sonic preservationists, using modern high-resolution recording technology to capture a sound that's timeless and that sticks with it because, well ... it's objectively good.
Now Drumdrops, a longtime purveyor of loops and grooves in many formats, contributes to the preservation ethic with their '60s Motown Kit product. I usually don't like to quote press releases or marketing copy directly on this site, but in this case, their description is rich enough in technical detail to merit repeating verbatim. (Okay, well, being an editor I put in some Oxford commas ... )
"Recorded in a large live room at Miloco's Livingston 1 studio in London with producer Timmy Rickard (60s Gretsch Round Badge 'Soul Kit'), the room was mic'd up as if there was a full 60s Motown band in the room – with a brass section a vocal mic and then two mics on the kit – a kick, and a kit mic placed above the bass drum, between the rack toms and below the ride. We Set these mics up around a 60s kit and voila the 60s Motown drum sound was recreated.
For the kit Timmy used his 1960s Ludwig club date kit with a 20" x 14" kick drum, one 12" x 8" rack tom, and a 14" floor tom. Four snares were used – two Ludwig Pioneer Snares, a Ludwig Hollywood Snare, and a Slingerland Shelbyville Snare. We used two cymbals, a Zildjian Trans Stamp and a Zildjian Constantinople Hammered cymbal (both doubled up as rides and crashes), and some Zildjian vintage hi-hats. All the drums were fitted with Remo Ambassador heads.
Mic wise, Neumann Valve U47s & U67s, Coles ribbon mics, a Sony C38b and an AKG Valve C28 were used. Mic preamps used were UA2-610s, Telefunken V76s, and a Neve 1073. All of the mics were recorded without EQ or compression except the overhead microphone which used an EAR valve EQ and compressor.
Also included are some percussion samples in the packs - congos, a tambourine and hand claps. Due to the number of mics we used to capture the sound, the separate mic packs come with a lot of samples. In the Kontakt, BFD packs, and All Samples Pack there are over 30,000 samples included."
Drumdrops '60s Motown Kit is available in a number of configurations, including one-shot samples, plus formats optimized for BFD and Native Instruments Kontakt. MIDI mapping templates for playing these sounds from a keyboard or pad controller cover a wide range of standard platforms and formats, including Addictive Drums, BFD, Drumit Five, General MIDI, iMAP, Toontrack Superior Drummer, Slate Digital SSD4, and full physical electronic kits including Roland V-Drums and Yamaha DTX-900.
Prices range from approximately $10 U.S. for the one-shot samples to about $60 for a pack that's programmed for Native Instruments' Kontakt soft sampler. Let's end by thinking about that for a second: Soundware made with this level of care would have cost some multiple of these prices in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when you would have had to load it into your Akai or E-mu sampler (or perhaps your Kurzweil keyboard workstation). Now, serious professionals have put countless all-nighters of work into this sort of thing and you can have it for a price that fits into your soy-kale-decaf-latte-smoothie budget. Here's their video:
If you want to add serious 60s cred to a production but lack the drums, microphones, or space to recreate that sound, this is a great value proposition.